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Daniel Libeskind

12-05-1946

Daniel Libeskind (1946) is an American architect of Polish-Jewish descent. He is one of the representatives of deconstructivism and came to fame with his twisted zigzag design for the Jewish Museum in Berlin.

Daniel Libeskind is flag bearer of deconstructivism, the collective name for a seemingly chaotic style of architecture composed of separate volumes that appear to as an incoherent whole. The idea behind the philosophy is to translate the fragmentation and confusion of society into architecture. (Source: Archipedia).

Libeskind is born in Poland to Jewish parents who survived the Holocaust. At the age of thirteen, he and his family emigrate to the United States. He studies architecture in New York, and the history and theory of architecture in Great Britain. He works briefly for architects Richard Meier and Peter Eisenman. In 1989 he founds the Studio Daniel Libeskind in New York. 

For a number of years, Libeskind is primarily an architect of ideas, rather than concrete edifices, completing his first building at the age of 52 – the Felix Nussbaum Haus in 1998. Soon after, in 2001, his breakthrough comes when his design for the contest for the Jewish Museum in Berlin is picked, out of 165 submissions (1992-2001). The final building is a triumph of controlled chaos, with a glistening, silver-coloured facade; the building’s zigzag shape has echoes of an elongated star of David.

This building establishes Libeskind’s reputation. Since then, he has been deemed ‘the architect of memorials’. He builds the Imperial War Museum North, in Salford, Great Britain. In 2002, he wins the competition for the redevelopment of Ground Zero with the Freedom Tower, a 514-metre-high skyscraper to occupy the site where New York’s World Trade Center once stood. 

Libeskind also builds the Denver Art Museum, a large shopping mall near Bern, the Grand Canal Theatre in Dublin, the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto and the Jewish Museum in Copenhagen. His work is exhibited in the world’s most prestigious museums such as the MOMA, the Bauhaus Archives, Centre Pompidou and the Art Institute of Chicago.

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